Effective Discipline Techniques for 9-Year-Old Children

Behavior Management Strategies for Kids in Fourth Grade

These parenting strategies can be most effective for 9-year-old kids.
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Age 9 signals the start of the “tween years.” At this age, they’re no longer kids but aren’t yet teenagers. It can be a very awkward and difficult time for kids (and their parents). 

Most 9-year-olds crave a little freedom and independence. Their attention often turns from their families to their friends. While younger children usually prefer same-sex friendships, age 9 is often the time when kids start showing an interest in developing friendships with the opposite sex.


Typical 9-Year-Old Behavior

Often, 9-year-olds want to have the privileges that come with being a teenager but clearly, they aren’t yet ready for that type of freedom. They may want to trade their toys for a smartphone and they may prefer to play with friends away from their parents' earshot.

Their desire to have more responsibility can lead to conflict. They may be argumentative and may beg and whine when they don't get their way.

By this age, however, they should have a good understanding of social norms. This can deter a lot of behavior problems in public as kids wouldn’t want to be seen acting out at the store or in front of their friends. Parents may see more behaviors in the home.

Most 9-year-olds have a good handle on their anger and friendships are usually very important. They are usually more aware of other people’s feelings and can empathize with other people’s feelings.

The desire to fit in with peers can be very important at this age.

As a result, the choices they make in friends are important as their peers can be very influential. It’s important to get them involved in positive activities and to help them find their interests and talents, whether they enjoy music, art, sports or some other type of hobby.

Best Discipline Strategies for 9 Year Olds

Disciplining 9-year-olds means balancing freedom with guidance.

They need plenty of parental support to ensure they are making healthy decisions but they also need to have opportunities to try things on their own, even if it means making a mistake.

Although every 9-year-old is different, these discipline strategies usually work best at this age: 

1. Praise 

Many tweens suffer from self-esteem issues. They may be anxious about stressful situations and may worry about how others perceive them. Genuinely praise their efforts and it can give them the confidence boost they need to try new things.

2. Positive Attention

Tweens need lots of attention. Without enough positive attention, they’ll often act out to get negative attention. Ward off attention-seeking behavior by Provide plenty of positive attention to reduce attention seeking behaviors and can encourage your child to come to you with problems.

3. Time-Out

Send a 9-year-old to time out to help him cool off when he’s angry or when he needs to think about his actions. A 9 minute time out is appropriate for a 9-year-old. Just be sure to use it sparingly, or it will lose its effect.

4. Give Directions Effectively

The way you give instructions can make a big difference in the likelihood of your 9-year-old complying.

Be clear and direct and avoid phrasing your directions in the form of a question. 

5. Grandma’s Rule of Discipline

Grandma’s rule is a great tool for 9-year-olds as it can help turn a consequence into a reward. So rather than say, "You can't go outside because your room is a mess," try saying, "You can play outside as soon as you finish cleaning your room."

6. Logical Consequences

Logical consequences can be very effective with 9-year-olds. For example, if your 9-year-old doesn’t get off the computer when you told him to do so, take away his computer privileges for the next 24 hours. He'll be more likely to make a better choice next time when the consequence is clearly linked to his misbehavior.

7. Natural Consequences

When it is safe to do so, allow for natural consequences. Learning from his own mistakes can teach him important life lessons.  

8. Taking Away Privileges

Take away something that really means something to your child. For one 9-year-old, the loss of video games might be a good consequence, but for another child, the loss of outdoor time might be most effective. 

9. ​Token Economy System

This is a great age for a token economy system as most 9-year-olds are very motivated to earn things. A token economy system can be used to target specific behavioral issues while allowing your child to earn privileges.

10. Problem-Solve Together

If your child is exhibiting behavior problems at home or at school, sit down and problem-solve together how to handle it. By the age of 9, many kids can offer creative solutions and can be very honest about what would help resolve the problem.

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